A report outlined by blockchain analytics company Chainalysis has revealed that two hacker groups have reportedly stolen $1 billion in cryptocurrency, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports on Jan. 28.
According to the new report shared with the Wall Street Journal, the two entities — which Chainalysis calls Alpha and Beta — have received the majority of the money lost in cryptocurrency scams. Furthermore, the WSJ cites Philip Gradwell, the chief economist at Chainalysis, as saying that the two organizations are probably still active.
However, the aforementioned article also quotes Chainalysis admitting that there is a chance its analysis is incorrect, and that the company has not been able to determine the groups’ identity.
The report purportedly states that Alpha is “a giant, tightly controlled organization at least partly driven by non-monetary goals,” while Beta is a smaller and less organized “heavily sanctioned organization heavily focused on the money.” The stolen funds were reportedly transferred an average of about 5,000 times before being converted into cash through online exchanges.
The two groups operate differently: Alpha reportedly begins transferring the cryptocurrency from address to address immediately, while Beta tends to wait for up to 18 months, letting the publicity around the attack fade away. The report notes that Alpha converts about 75 percent of the funds within one month on average, while Beta cashes out 50 percent in just days after their self-imposed waiting period.
Those funds sometimes go through regulated exchanges since, as Gradwell explained, after so many transfers, even those exchanges with Anti-Money Laundering structures have trouble noticing that they have received hacked proceedings.
As Cointelegraph recently reported, a link to a phishing LocalBitcoins clone website had been placed on the official LocalBitcoins forum, but the attack has since been stopped.
Also, news recently broke that as much as $16 million worth of Ethereum (ETH) and ERC20 tokens were stolen in the mid-January hack of New Zealand exchange Cryptopia.